NEW YORK — The OSA Crusaders 16-and-under and 17U teams had a successful opening day at the Adidas Gauntlet Finale on Thursday.
OSA 16U Gauntlet beat Team Lillard (Oakland, California) 72-63 in front of Creighton coach Greg McDermott, UNO coach Derrin Hansen and assistants from UNC Wilmington, Northwestern, Coastal Carolina and Western Illinois.
OSA trailed early until Omaha Westside junior PJ Ngambi connected on back-to-back 3-ponters to put OSA ahead 15-13 with 9:32 remaining in the first half. OSA led 32-29 at halftime.
“We were kind of out sync at the beginning,” OSA coach Jim Simons said. “We don’t really have starters and I started a different lineup each of the last seven games. The second group of guys came in and just made simple plays.”
One of those players that made simple plays was Adams Central forward Haggan Hilgendorf, who had eight of his game-high 15 points in the first half.
"Haggan played really well,” Simons said. “He hit a big 3 and ran hard to the rim and our guards found him at the rim a couple of times. He is a good player and we know he is a good player and it was good to see him do that.”
Omaha Skutt junior guard Tyson Gordon and Elkhorn South junior Zach Lafave led the team with eight rebounds, while Ngambi led the team with five assists.
“We had really good contributions up and down the lineup and Tyson’s rebounding from the guard position was big in this game,” Simons said. “I don’t know if it was a big stage or big city or a lot of commotion both outside and inside at the start.”
OSA 16U Gauntlet will face Team YGC 36 from Dallas on Friday Friday in the round of 16.
OSU 17U 71, Atlanta Celtics 63
OSA opened the game on a 11-0 run and never trailed.
It was led by Creighton Prep senior forward Akol Arop with 23 points and nine rebounds. Arop, who holds scholarship offers from UNO and UC Davis, was 10 of 15 from the floor, including 2 of 4 from 3-point range.
"We started the game fantastic,” OSA 17U Gauntlet coach Andy King said. “We did not shoot the ball well and still scored 71. I told the guys a day and a half of travel and first game jitters this is what happens. We just looked a little sped up mentally in the first half.
“Akol did everything he was fantastic and was all over the floor,” King said. “He rebounding all over the place and blocked shots, dunked a lot and had a couple of steals.”
“I though Shereef and Jaylin (Hunter) did a great job from the point guard position and when they ran their 2-3 zone and Baylor (Scheierman) was really good in the middle of the floor creating shots for people,” King added.
Elkhorn South senior Jace Piatkowski contributed some big baskets in the second half when the Celtics were trying to cut the 17-point OSA lead. He finished with nine points and two rebounds.
“He is a guy who is obviously known for his outside shooting but he did a good job of contributing in different ways with a couple of big rebounds and hit a few floaters and just contributed in other ways,” King said.
OSA will play in the second round Friday night against Team Knight from Miami.
Lincoln North Star junior guard Donovan Williams scored 13 points in the Iowa Barnstormers 16U's 77-71 win over Louisiana Supreme. Williams and his Barnstormers teammates will face Indiana Elite in the second round Friday morning.
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